Southern Manufacturing 2018: your eight-point guide to a great show

Celebrating its 20th anniversary between the 6th and 8th February 2018, it won't be long until thousands of engineering and manufacturing professionals make their way to Farnborough once again for Southern Manufacturing and Electronics

Last year, the UK's largest regional manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting exhibition attracted more than 8,200 visitors and over 800 exhibitors - providing plenty of opportunity to do business all under one roof. And thankfully, for those that have been caught out in the past by the somewhat bizzare Farnborough weather system, that roof is now permanent! 

From February 2018 onwards the show will be held in the newly built £35m Hall 1 at Farnborough International. 

The show attracts many electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers, as well as some of the UK's top engineering firms and component distributors. This makes it the perfect opportunity to meet face-to-face with potential outsourcing partners and to find new suppliers who can help you to grow and develop your business in today's competitive and fast-changing environment.

So, if you haven't yet got around to planning your visit, now's the time to do so. The three-day event runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Tuesday 6 February and Wednesday 7 February, and from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Thursday 8 February. There will be lots going on, so it's important to use your time wisely. Here's our eight-point guide, to help make sure you have a great show:

1. Location

The show is located inside Hall 1 at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre which offers 12,500 sq ft of exhibition space in total. 

2. Directions and parking

If you're planning to drive and have a Sat Nav, the postcode to use is GU14 6AZ. From the M3 take junction 4 and then follow the A331 to Farnborough. The show will be clearly AA signposted on all roads approaching the venue. Parking is free and there are plenty of spaces available.

If you are travelling by bus, rail, or air, please click here for further information, including maps and timetables.

3. Pre-registration

You can pre-register for the event online by filling out a short form. Entry is free and you will also receive a free show catalogue upon arrival, which otherwise costs £10. Additionally, you can sign up for seminars once you've completed your registration.

4. Floor plan

Unfortunately, it's not possible to get a copy of the latest floor plan in advance, unless you're an exhibitor. However, the show catalogue will have the latest copy included - so make sure you either pre-register or pay the £10 to avoid walking up and down the aisles hunting for specific suppliers. An exhibitor list can be accessed from the homepage of the Industry South website. You can search either by category or company name and each exhibitor will have their own profile page, detailing their stand number and other contact details.

5. Your itinerary

When you first arrive at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018, it's a good idea to outline your plan of attack. We would recommend taking a 30-minute timeout at the start of your day. There are plenty of catering facilities onsite providing you with the perfect opportunity to grab a coffee and work out who you want to speak to and ensure you don't miss any great opportunities.

However, if you already have a good idea of the suppliers you want to meet, then it's well worth contacting them in advance. This approach will allow you to keep control of your schedule and will reduce the chance of you turning up at the same time as other interested parties.  

It's also important to consider how you will record your conversations with suppliers, so that you can refer to them after the show - for example, you might have a supplier checklist or questionnaire that you could adapt for the event.

6. Social media

If you want to keep up to date about Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018 on social media, here are the key accounts to have on your radar:

7. Request for quote (RfQ)

With a number of potential partners all under one roof, Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018 creates a perfect opportunity for benchmarking. However, we would recommend holding back from issuing out "live" quote packs during the show; unless, of course, you are confident a supplier has the capability, quality and ability to deliver your immediate requirements. Instead, we recommend using the show as a way of creating a shortlist of potential suppliers and then spending time sending tailored request for quotes (RFQ) when you are back in the office.

8. Learn something new

There will be 34 seminars planned during the three-day event, which are hosted by top speakers in their industry fields. These fall into two main categories, engineering and electronics, and cover a range of topics, including:

  • CE marking 2018 and beyond
  • An introduction to 3D printing and the exciting benefits it brings to manufacturers
  • The role of Cobots in future manufacturing
  • Lean: driving efficiency in business - a practical guide
  • The GDPR risk - a 'must-know' guide to the new law

The engineering seminars take place in seminar hall 2 and the electronics seminars take place in seminar hall 1. Places fill up fast, so it's advisable to sign up for the ones that spark your interest during pre-registration. 

So, there you have it: your eight-point guide to Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018. To conclude, we have one more piece of advice: to consolidate your time at the show, it's really important to follow up with any potential outsourcing partners or other key suppliers that you meet during your visit, once you get back in the office. After all, you might have just come across an organisation that could help you to achieve some of your most important business objectives.

We hope to see you there!

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Written by Neil Sharp

Neil has over 25 years’ experience in Electronics Manufacturing Services and Component Distribution. During his career, Neil has held a range of leadership positions in sales, marketing, and customer service. Neil is currently part of the ESCATEC Senior Management Team and is responsible for setting and delivering the overall Group Marketing strategy. Neil heads up the marketing department and is responsible for both the strategy and the implementation of innovative marketing campaigns designed to deliver high quality content to those seeking outsourcing solutions.